Monday, June 24, 2024

ILM receives $6M in ARPA funds

Wilmington International Airport received another round of ARPA grant money to assist with operational expenses. (Port City Daily photo / File)

WILMINGTON — Wednesday, the Wilmington Airport Authority approved receipt of another round of American Rescue Plan funds, allocated from the Federal Aviation Administration.

The airport authority plans to use $6,090,079 toward operational costs, including personnel, cleaning, sanitization, janitorial services and debt service payment, according to the board’s agenda.

The FAA received $8 billion in the ARPA signed into law on March 11, 2021, and is distributing funds to national airports as grant money for economic assistance. Close to $6.5 billion is being distributed among primary commercial service airports, such as ILM, defined as having more than 10,000 annual enplanements. The Wilmington airport reported 905,630 passengers in 2021, 84% of pre-Covid levels.

An additional $800 million is being distributed to airports to maintain in-terminal concessions. ILM received $462,000 for concessions relief.

The airport plans to open the new Tailwind café in April and a larger main restaurant in May. Until the buildout is complete, there is a kiosk for food and beverages in the new terminal, which is set to open to the public Tuesday.

This is a large portion of the airport’s multi-phase, $60-million master expansion plan. ILM received an additional $6.5 million in ARPA funds in July 2021. It also was allocated almost $20 million from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act in 2020, as part of the FAA’s $10 billion it distributed. The money helped the airport retain personnel and increase cleaning protocols at the height of the pandemic.

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